Grosse Pointe Shores to offer Wi-Fi at park this summer

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published June 4, 2019

GROSSE POINTE SHORES — Visitors to Osius Park this summer will be able to go online without consuming their personal data.

During a meeting May 21, the Grosse Pointe Shores City Council voted 5-2 in favor of a proposal to add Wi-Fi service to the park, at least for the summer.

City Manager Mark Wollenweber said Shores resident Tom Paparaptis, of Detroit-based Cronus Communications, which has supplied Wi-Fi service to Greektown, Grosse Pointe Woods’ Lake Front Park and other locations, was willing to donate “a significant portion” of the installation cost — roughly $15,000 — so that the Shores would have an installation cost of $17,000.

In addition, Cronus would be charging the city about $600 per month for the service, depending on the amount of usage needed, and Paparaptis would be able to turn off the service at the end of the season. The city plans to offer Wi-Fi from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

“We have funds in the existing budget for this,” Wollenweber said.

This proposal was much lower in cost than the one the Shores got from the Wi-Fi provider for the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club, which city officials said would “exceed $105,000” to install at Osius Park next door, and from Metro Wireless, which city officials said offered an installation price of $60,000 to $90,000 and monthly rates of $1,398 to $1,798.

Wollenweber also said that the other vendors said they wouldn’t be able to shut off service for the less-busy months at the park, meaning that the Shores would have to pay monthly service fees even when usage of the park was minimal.

City Councilman Matt Seely noted that the city can cancel the deal if it isn’t happy with the service, and the city will still own the equipment after it’s installed, “so it seems like a very low risk for us.”

“We have no written contract, so we’re not legally bound,” Mayor Ted Kedzierski said.

“Is this coming from residents?” City Councilman Doug Kucyk asked of the demand for Wi-Fi.

Wollenweber said it is.

“We’ve had a lot of requests for it,” Wollenweber responded.

Other parks in the Grosse Pointes offer this, he said.

Kucyk and City Councilwoman Tina Ellis cast the votes against the proposal.

“As far as the park Wi-Fi proposal … there was no written contract,” Ellis said by email after the meeting. “This concerned me that … the costs may rise to an unknown level. At this time, Grosse Pointe Shores is looking for areas to trim spending so that we don’t have to raise taxes. I want to be as (fiscally) responsible as possible with the tax dollars and do everything I can to trim excess spending.”

Kucyk echoed that sentiment.

“I voted against it because we were all looking for things to cut in the budget and this was a nice $17K cut,” he said by email after the meeting.